Every day in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better be running!
~ Abe Gubegna
There is nothing refreshing like beginning a new year, a new project, a new job or a new season. It comes with the energy to start things afresh, to make positive changes in our lives. It gives the proverbial “turning over a new leaf” a concrete meaning. We all have a chance to determine how our history will read. What better time to determine the end of a matter than at the very beginning? As a leader, you have the ideal chance to craft the legacy you will leave behind at the end of this season. You must be intentional about it. It is not about making resolutions for the new season – it is about shaping the future.
I give you the challenge to shape your new season in life – whatever that would be today. Leaders do not wait for life to happen, they make it happen! So what do you need to do?
Cast the Vision
Vision is seeing the end from the beginning – it is a function of your imagination. Your vision must be bigger than you and your organisation. It ought to be big enough to kick you out of your comfort zone. A vision that does not give you discomfort, that doesn’t challenge and stretch you, places you at a vantage position to be toppled off.
Everything you see around you today was once an idea in someone’s mind. What is in your mind right now that the world is yet to see in the physical? If there is nothing, you better get to bed and dream again! Dream BIG! Build your capacity to take risk. Step out into the deep waters and pursue your vision. If you are not certain of your destination this season, any road will get you there.
Share the Vision
If you want to move fast, you go it alone. If you want to go far, you go with a team. There is nothing more unproductive than an unsynchronized team effort with everyone doing what they deem fit and nothing seems to integrate. If you are not good at clear communication, this season you must make it a priority to communicate with clarity (and possibly repeatedly until the team members catch your vision).
You need your team to actualise your vision efficiently and effectively. They cannot help you get there if they have no idea what the destination looks like. What do you want to achieve this season? Why is it important to achieve it? What will be required of each department or individual? Encourage your team to ask questions. Allow them to own the vision by inviting their input on how best to pursue the vision.
Execute the Vision
The test of the vision is in its execution. It is good to have a great vision and to share it with your team. They may even get an emotional high at how brilliant the vision is. But if you do not lay down the plan to achieve the vision and execute it, you will remain in that state of utopia. You cannot rewrite history by remaining business as usual.
A challenging vision requires energy and commitment to execute it. You need to choose your team carefully and unapologetically drop those that hold you back. It is nothing personal, its just business! You must hit the ground running to give it the right momentum.
An important part of the execution is continuous review of progress. It is easy to loose sight of the end goal when you get into the details of execution. Every so often, you need to look at your progress against the original plan. You may need to make a few changes along the way as the circumstances in the business environment change. Evaluating your progress continuously ensures that you stay on course to actualize the vision.
As a leader in your life, family or organisation, there will always be detractors or competitors around you. I can bet you that they have a silver bullet with your name inscribed on it. They have a strategy to topple you off your plan. They too have a vision and they have a plan to execute it. They are not playing games. They are stepping into the new season, not just to do business as usual, but also to take home the trophy. And so, when the sun rises in each day of your new season, you better be running to execute your vision!
About The Author
Gakii Dominica is a vibrant risk and quality management practitioner in a professional services firm. She is committed to continuous performance improvement and driving organizational efficiency. She is passionate about her life purpose – developing young leaders and economically empowering women in Africa. She believes Africa needs better leaders to steer the continent into a developed economy. She envisions an Africa with focused leaders and women strengthened to be the backbone of its development and growth.